Do your part - conserve energy

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Unplugging electronics when not in use is one way to conserve energy. To help reduce demand on Japan's power grid, Yokota personnel are encouraged to save energy by turning off lights, unplugging appliances and conservatively using facility heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrea Salazar)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Unplugging electronics when not in use is one way to conserve energy. To help reduce demand on Japan's power grid, Yokota personnel are encouraged to save energy by turning off lights, unplugging appliances and conservatively using facility heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrea Salazar)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Base personnel can conserve energy by reducing the amount of lights turned on during daylight hours. The current push to conserve energy is part of Yokota's efforts to help its Japanese neighbors, in response to power shortages throughout the country caused by the earthquake and tsunami, March 11. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrea Salazar)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Base personnel can conserve energy by reducing the amount of lights turned on during daylight hours. Energy conservation not only ensures that Yokota is well funded for operational missions, but it also helps reduce maintenance costs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrea Salazar)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Energy conservation efforts remain critical for both Yokota and the country of Japan following the March 11 earthquake. Air conditioning can almost double base power consumption during the summer. Limiting air conditioning to no less than 78 F/25.5 C from noon to 5 p.m. is a simple and effective way to reduce Yokota's energy foot print. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stacy Moless)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Limiting air conditioning to no less than 78 F/25.5 C during the day is a simple and effective way to reduce Yokota's energy foot print. Other easy conservation tips include flipping a switch, unplugging an appliance or grabbing a blanket. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stacy Moless)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Energy conservation efforts are a top priority for service members at Yokota Air Base, Japan, and Air Force-wide. Base personnel and residents here are reminded of its importance, as well as of ways they can contribute to conserve energy.

According to Michael Haka, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron energy and utilities manager, it is imperative that each member of Team Yokota contributes to energy conservation.

Haka said every year the Air Force projects how much money it will likely spend on energy and it is divided out to installations. If the 374th Airlift Wing exceeds its energy budget, the additional funds come out of the Air Force's Operation and Maintenance budget.

"If we do not conserve energy, the wing will be forced to cut back in other areas," Haka said.

Energy conservation not only ensures that Yokota is well funded for operational missions, but it also helps reduce maintenance costs.

"Every time you use an object, it suffers wear," Haka said. "Light bulbs burn out and switches lose contact. Replacing failed components costs the wing time and money."

Conserving energy can be as simple as flipping a switch, unplugging an appliance or grabbing a blanket, said Haka.

Below are a few tips to help conserve energy.

- During the day, keep overhead lighting to a minimum. Keep lights off in unused rooms and open the blinds and curtains for lighting.

- Turn off office computer monitors when not in use and before leaving for the day. Also, reduce screen brightness to 50 percent, use one copier or scanner in each office and unplug peripherals that are not in use.

- Unplug cooling elements on water fountains, turn off the water when brushing your teeth and shorten your shower.

- Unplug all non-mission critical televisions (TVs that are turned off, but plugged in, still draw up to 80 percent of their power usage).

- Set your thermostat to 68 degrees or less during the daytime in winter, and 55 degrees before going to sleep (or when you're away for the day). During the summer, set thermostats to 78 degrees or more.

- Unplug chargers for cell phones, PDA's, digital cameras, cordless tools, etc. when not in use.

"We hold a public trust," Haka added. "The government and the Air Force give us our budget with the understanding that we will use that money to protect America and its allies. If we squander that money on wasteful energy practices, we have failed the Air Force, the government and most importantly ourselves."